Halloween with the Hetchers

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Hey Chrys! I'm sure you know all about Jace's annual Halloween party. I'm going to come into town for it, and I want you to know that you're invited. Bring as many friends as you want, and of course, little miss Poppy! 

I got that text in the lobby of the doctors' office. A nurse called my name shortly after. She checked my vitals and Doctor Andrews came in a few minutes later. She wanted to do another checkup after last week when I started having Braxton Hicks.

I had another precautionary ultrasound with Brittany, and both boys were looking great. They were actively moving the entire time. They looked like fully-formed babies, a long way from the shrimp and snowman I first saw. I could even make out their little noses and mouths.

We also listened to their heartbeats, which were loud and strong. Music to a nervous mother's ears. 

"You're two months away, but you're getting close," she said, handing me all the pictures, which I placed in my purse.

I went and checked out, making my appointment for next week. I couldn't believe I was already having weekly appointments.

"Alright Chrys, we'll see you next week," said the lady behind the counter.

"Great. Thanks," I said.

Before I walked out of the office, I texted Chase back.

Are you sure? And won't people see you and freak out?

He responded after I got into Smushy.

Haha. I'll be covered head to toe so no one will notice. I didn't even get a lot of attention at our bday party because everyone was so drunk lol.

That weekend, I found myself sitting at the table with Mom, who was putting the finishing touches on my costume. She insisted on making it herself, so it would be personalized for me. It was a white t-shirt with a big circular fish bowl painted on it. In the bowl were two blue fish.

"Look at that! It's perfect!" Mom said.

I smiled. In my long search for pregnancy costumes, this idea was my favorite. It just seemed a little more unique than a pumpkin or a bowling ball.

A few hours later, Poppy and I were getting ready. I was really surprised she wasn't going in something half-naked like some of her friends. She probably knew that with me around, she'd never get away with it.

Instead she was dressing up like some gothic vampire from that Castle of Shadows show she was obsessed with. Destiny was right beside her, putting special vampire fangs in her mouth.

"Who are you again?" I asked Poppy. 

"Ugh!" She rolled her eyes. "I'm Echo, and Destiny's Kai. Don't you ever pay any attention to my favorite show?"

"Not really, considering you watch it on your laptop, alone in your bed with headphones on," I said.

Poppy pointed at my costume. "I told Mom that your shirt advocates animal abuse. Fish belong in properly sized tanks, not bowls."

I rolled my eyes. "Tell you what, fish advocate—the next time I'm pregnant, if that ever happens, I'll be sure to make a shirt that has two blue cartoon fish in something a little more humane."

"Good," Poppy said, sticking her nose in the air.

Julia came over a few minutes later, dressed in a shirt that looked like the solar system, with her bump as the Death Star from Star Wars. Her and Carlos were nerds and it was totally adorable.

We all hung out and ate pizza while we waited for Cler, who, as usual, was over thirty minutes late.

Once she finally got there, we all piled into Smushy, since I had three rows of seats. WE listened to the radio while I drove us to the Hetcher mansion.

I could hear the booming music from all the way down the block, which was where we had to park. It was that crazy.

I'd never actually been to Jace's Halloween party, but twice I'd cleaned up after it the next morning. Not fun. But I was hoping in all the chaos that I'd have time to give him some of my latest ultrasound pictures and talk about our next meetup if we could even hear each other.

It wasn't even nine yet, and when we walked up to the gate, it was wide open. Drunk freshmen were playing in the fountain, holding cheap bottles of beer and plastic cups. Yup. This was exactly what I expected.

We went inside, and there were streamers, strobe lights, fog machines, and probably STDs floating around in there too. There had to be at least a hundred people. All the noise woke the boys up from the nap they seemed to be taking, and one of them was karate-chopping my bladder.

"I'm still hungry! I'm gonna go raid the fridge if I can find it!" Julia yelled into my ear.

"I'm down! I know exactly where it is!" I said. "Follow me!" 

I looked to my left. Poppy, Destiny, and Cler were already gone. I led us to the kitchen and turned the lights on. The music was a little less boomy, but it was still crowded.

Plastic cups were overflowing in the garbage. Bottles of liquor completely covered the massive island in the middle of the room. Kids were mixing drinks and these two wasted girls were laughing, throwing cheese balls at each other.

"Oh man, those look so good!" Julia said, practically salivating.

"Let's see if there's more in the cabinets!" I said.

I don't work here anymore. I could trash the place all I wanted.

We raided the cabinets until Julia shouted "Jackpot!" and held up a massive jar of cheese balls. She twisted the cap off and started digging her hands in, scooping fistfuls into her mouth. I crossed my arms.

"Hey, I'm pregnant. Don't judge me," she said.

"Kind of hard to," I said, pointing to my belly.

A group of girls, who I recognized from some of my classes, were giggling on the other side of the room.

"Aww, look at that! Slutty Chrysanthemum has another pregnant friend!" one of them said.

"Yeah, who invited the pregnant girls?" another one asked. "I thought this was a party, not a maternity ward."

"Wow, you guys must have a lot of balls to call someone else a slut when all your costumes are literally bras and underpants," Julia said. They all blushed from embarrassment. "And by the way, I'm twenty-two and engaged. Buzz off."

The girls turned away and walked out of the kitchen. Wow. I can't believe Julia scared them off that easily. One of the other counters held stacks and stacks of pizza boxes. Right next to them were wings and garlic knots. I took an entire box of garlic knots because I had no shame.

People were shuffling in and out of the kitchen like crazy, but Julia and I pretty much set up a fort there, sharing snacks out the counter and people watching all the crazy drunk kids.

Julia named the counter "Camp Cravings." I laughed because I loved all the crazy things she came up with. She was so much like Cler, only a few years older and pregnant...obviously.

"Oh, hello ladies. I'm sorry to disturb you," a deep voice said.

I saw someone dressed in a really good Darth Vader costume—like, not something you'd get at the party store, but an actual legit costume straight off a movie set.

"Whoa, sweet outfit!" Julia perked up, pointing to her bump.

"Yes, I love it!" Darth Vader said. He came closer to me and pointed at my belly. "Chrys...I am...not their father, but I am their uncle!" I jumped when he took his helmet off, revealing Chase. He gave Julia a little wave. "Hello there! You must be Julia!"

She didn't answer because she was in total shock. I gave her a little nudge.

"You're really Beau Beauregard from Castle of Shadows?" She turned to me. "I thought you were joking!"

"It's nice to meet you," Chase said, shaking her hand. "You guys should come with me. Jace asked me to find you, Chrys."

Chase put his helmet back on and we followed him out of the kitchen. Julia took her jar of cheese balls to-go as we walked into what was about to be one of the craziest things I'd ever experienced.

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